Thursday , Nov , 03 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers, Heat tangle in South Beach

(Sports Network) – The Indiana Pacers try to open the season with back-to-
back wins this evening when they square off against the Miami Heat at
AmericanAirlines Arena.

On Wednesday, Ron Artest had 16 points in his first contest since the infamous
brawl last fall, as the Pacers ran past the Orlando Magic, 90-78, in the
season opener for both squads at TD Waterhouse Centre.

Jermaine O’Neal scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and
Austin Croshere added 16 points for Indiana, which made 47 percent of its

Artest was playing in his first game since his 73-game suspension from last
season. On November 19 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Artest
charged into the crowd after Pistons fans after getting hit with a plastic
cup. NBA Commissioner David Stern then suspended Artest for the final 73 games
of the 2004-05 season.

Stephen Jackson was also suspended for 30 games and O’Neal sat out 15 contests
for their involvement in the brawl.

Fans booed Artest at the start of the game, but the forward wasn’t fazed, as
he played 40 minutes and finished 4-of-14 from the field and 6-of-9 from the
foul line.

It also marked the first time since the start of the 1986-87 season that the
Pacers didn’t have a familiar face in the lineup, as Reggie Miller retired
last season after 18 years with the franchise.

Indiana will return home for three games after tonight’s contest.

Miami also picked up a win in its season-opener on Wednesday, as Antoine
Walker had a successful Miami debut and netted 25 points while pulling down 16
rebounds, as the Heat topped the Memphis Grizzlies, 97-78, at the FedExForum

Walker was acquired by the Heat in a blockbuster five-team, 13-player trade
that included the Grizzlies.

Jason Williams, also involved in the deal, scored 10 points in his Heat debut,
while Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who have split
their last four meetings against Memphis.

Shaquille O’Neal netted 12 points and six rebounds in only 27 minutes of
action and Gary Payton scored four points in his first game with the Heat.

The Heat will head to Milwaukee following tonight’s contest.

Indiana took three of four from the Heat last season has won 14 of 19 and 15
of the last 21 meetings. The Pacers have also had success in South Beach,
where they have won six of 10 and eight of 14.